Ali Pica

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, ALI: How to stay positive when everything seems negative

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, ALI: How to stay positive when everything seems negative
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

When it rains, it pours, and my life so far in 2015 has been raining misery. I lost my boyfriend, friends, dog, job, and may lose my apartment. It sounds like a great country song! Things could be worse, but they could be a lot better! I am not looking forward to the end result of having to move back home and accepting defeat. And if you’re wondering why I have been hiatus for about a month, please re-read above and add a full-time unpaid internship in the mix.

However, I am not giving up! There have been little things in my life, glimmers of hope that have kept me going. Sometimes, it is the funny things my students say or do, or knowing I helped them, even if it’s just with homework or to make a new friend. Sixth grade can be a rough time for kids, and thinking back on what it was like, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be them – some in foster care, or worse, enduring abuse and neglect, possibly homeless. It reminds me of how lucky I am to have such a great and supportive family. Not all of you may have this, but I am sure you have someone or some people in your life who care about you. Sometimes, it’s the people you’d least expect.

If you have ever heard of the expression “read the signs,” take heed and pay attention. As my supervisor said to me today, “Everyone has problems,” and a lot of times we don’t talk about them. She told me about her problems, which oddly were similar to the ones I had endured in the recent past. We had a bonding moment with some crying and laughter. She said, “Stay positive.”

“Stay positive” has been ringing in my ears over and over. My students attended a play the other day, and one of the songs was called “Think Positive.” It was cute and yet seemingly annoying, but the message was clear. Then you may wonder, “How do I think positive when everything is negative?”

My solution to this problem is this: Indulge in the little things – the little rays of hope, the silly random things that occur throughout the day, the things that may seem unimportant and we take for granted, but are much bigger than we realize. If you can’t find it, as my supervisor said, then create it. Make your happiness, one small action at a time. I know this is hard sometimes, but being miserable only makes things worse. I may be jobless, friendless, boyfriendless, dogless, and maybe temporarily homeless, but I know I always have my family. If you don’t have a family, anyone close to you can be family. And if not, remember, you can’t always rely on people for your happiness. You have to make it yourself.

As Aunt Gayle from “Bob’s Burgers” said, “Happy things we should send into space: a jar of mayo, magazine clippings of Scott Baio, that song that starts with ‘Day-0.’” I know this seems complete random (and it is), but there is some truth in finding happiness in the minute (and seemingly strange) things in life. As long as it’s not harming yourself or anyone else, why not?

It is the first day of spring, and winter sucked, but it is over. But like winter, the crappy weather will end and life will start anew. As cheesy as that sounds (like Cheez Whiz), there may be a kernel of truth there. Whatever positive thing you want to pursue, don’t be afraid of it. Fear will only hold you back and keep you inside, binge-watching Netflix and drinking cheap beer like you did all winter. It is time to move on to better things, like outside… when it stops snowing, of course.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Ali is an advice column that runs every Friday on NEPA Scene. E-mail your anonymous question to Ali here to be featured in a future column.